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The Madison County Fiscal Court revisited adding an insurance premium tax on county residents during its bi-monthly meeting Tuesday.

The court passed first reading of an ordinance that would set the rate at five percent. City of Berea residents currently pay 6 percent on insurance premium taxes, while Richmond currently pays 8 percent. The city residents won’t pay the county rate additionally, because it falls under the proposed county rate. Judge Exectuive Reagan Taylor, along with Magistrates John Tudor, Tom Botkin and Roger Barger approved the first reading, while Larry Combs voted against the proposed tax.

The tax would exclude life and health insurance premiums. Madison County Treasurer Glenna Baker said the tax could generate between $2 and $2.5 million in revenue and would keep the county afloat, to pay the bills and go into the general fund as opposed funding a new detention center and if passed at second reading, the tax will go into affect on July 1.

“Madison County is one of a few counties (in the state) not charging this insurance premium tax,” Tudor said. “This will not go to building a new jail. This will not go to building a rehab center. This will go to trying to survive.”

Tudor said he would oppose cutting county services, including the Madison County Fire Department.

“I’m not willing to do that,” he said. “I don’t think the public is willing to close down the fire department.”

More than a year ago, magistrates discussed adding a 10 percent Local Government Premium Tax (LGPT) but ended the discussion following public outcry.

Like the previous property tax increase, Combs said the measure could be recalled in the near future.

The court also approved the second reading of recalling a proposed 11.4 cent property tax increase to allot four percent for the current fiscal year. The court unanimously to recall the proposed tax.

Combs voted against the measure at first reading and was in favor a second time around, saying, “I made my comment at the last meeting and I want it over.”

The ordinance set this year’s tax rate at 8.3 cents per $100 accessed instead of the 19.4 cents set for under a previous ordinance that led to a successful petition drive to have the measure placed on the ballot next year. Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger certified 3,785 signatures, resulting in the action by the court. Last year’s property tax rate was set at 8.2 cents and the 8.3 cent rate is based on a 4 percent increase allowed by law.

In other business:

• The court approved second reading of an ordinance on a land change at 1194 Goggins Lane for 22.4 acres from UC-7 to UC-1 and 39.6 acres from UC-7 to UC-2.

• Approved first reading of an ordinance amending the road department budget.

• Taylor proclaimed November as Diabetes Awareness Month.

• Emerson McAfee presented a certificate of appreciation award to Madison County Sheriff captain Sam Manley.

• The court went into executive session to discuss county-owned property and the court didn’t take action on the matter. Deputy Judge Executive Colleen Chaney presented a screen shot of properties currently owned by the county.

• Approved amending a correction on a general term order for the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

• Next meeting: Tuesday, Dec. 17 in Richmond.

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